Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

It’s Best Not to Move Mature Peonies

septembre 4Early September is a great time to transplant, divide or plant herbaceous peonies in the Northern Hemisphere… but be aware that mature herbaceous peonies hate being transplanted.

Even if you plant them at precisely the right depth, with dormant buds less than 2 inches (5 cm) deep, often the plant will not flower again for several years, sometimes for up to a decade. To be honest, sometimes you will manage to move a mature peony with success, but generally transplanting mature plants gives disappointing results. It just seems that adult peonies have difficulty accepting any change in their situation. So rather than transplant the mother plant then wait for several years for it to recover, divide the plant instead. Dividing peonies rejuvenates them… and the young peonies that result from such division settle in much more readily than would a mature plant.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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